There is an art gallery just around the corner from where I work and I have passed it by numerous times without ever going inside. It’s one of those little places that look like they are closed most of the time. Today I decided to go and check it out.
The title of the exhibition at the gallery is “Bacchanal” and this is to pay tribute to the harvest time, wine making and “ritual madness” (according to the little flyer available). The gallery featured mainly oil paintings, a few small sculpture pieces and I also came across two photographs. it is an extremely eclectic gallery. Many of the paintings were on the floor, while others were displayed on pullout doors. One really had to watch one’s step in certain parts. Sadly, not everything was properly tagged, so much of the art work remained anonymous, and those that were tagged were only tagged by their last names, making it rather difficult to go back and identify the artists on the internet. I do think, if an artist is exhibiting in a gallery, the least the gallery can do is to use his/her full name next to all his work. I am not familiar with the finer aspects of paintings so this review will be rather subjective than objective.
Just in the door and I came face to face with Richard Wlodarczak’s Weight in Time (a mixed media on canvas). This piece is 60 x 96 inches in size and is presented as a diptych. The artist makes bold use of red, black and cream in his painting, the two figures, one male, the other female seem to mirror their movements and are painted in contrasting hues. The male is light, coming out of the darkness, while the female is dark against the white background. More of Wlodarczak’s work can be seen on his website.
A lot of the paints were very abstract and I can honestly say that I really don’t understand them at all. I did like the interplay of the colours and the heavily saturated pigments of the red/orange and blue/green cold-warm contrasts of the first painting in the link just provided. I found the movement of the colours (like swirls) quite fun to look at. I think they were probably made with a palette knife as it does look as if the paint has been troweled on.
I do have to say, though, that I think the little visual exercise I gave myself of pasting examples of the various art histories that Johannes Itten mentions in his Elements of Color, has given me more appreciation, and dare I venture to suggest, understanding of art than I previously had.
Jim Selkin, who is a travel photographer, was one of the photographers who had a piece in the gallery, namely his Pressure Ridges, which was printed on aluminium. It is an image of the folds or crevices in the glacial ice, more specifically of the blue ice that one sometimes sees in the glaciers. The photograph is really a monochromatic image with tones of blue ranging from white through to a deep navy. The diagonal lines of the crevices lend movement to the image and create a sense of depth to the image. Sadly the photograph was tucked away in a rather dark corner so it was not exhibited to its full potential.
So I came away from this exhibition a little disappointed in the anonymous way the artwork has been presented and with an overwhelming smell of oil paint in my nostrils.
Art Works Gallery FaceBook page [online]. Available from: https://www.facebook.com/ArtWorksGallery/photos_stream [Accessed 4 November, 2014]
Itten, J. (1970). The Elements of Color. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.